Star Anise is a seed pod made from the Chinese tree Illicium Verum that is shaped like a star. It is a spice that works amazingly during the cold winter days since it is a warm type of spice with a licorice flavor.
It is the main ingredient in the Chinese five-spice powder, mulled wine and it’s also used in Vietnamese cuisine in savory dishes like Pho, masala chai, and is a part of many spice blends.
So, what do you do when you’ve run out of this spice? Is there a decent substitute for Star Anise? Find out in the article down below.
The Best Star Anise Substitutes are
- Chinese Five-Spice Powder
- Fennel Seeds
- Anise Seeds
- Licorice Root Powder
- Licorice Liqueur
- Cinnamon Powder
- Caraway Seeds Mixed With Tarragon
- Fennel Seeds Mixed With Ground Anise Seeds
- Caraway Seeds
Keep on reading our article to find out about these wonderful, warm spices.
Star Anise Substitutes
Chinese Five-Spice Powder
The most relevant alternative to Star Anise that you already might have in your spice rack is Chinese Five-Spice Powder since it already contains this seed in it amongst four other spices, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, and Szechuan Peppercorn.
This is also a spice that has a warm, licorice-like, kind of spicy flavor. You can use Chinese five-spice powder in roasted fish, poultry, and all kinds of meat-based dishes.
Of course, this spice is regularly used in Chinese cuisine to give warmth and licorice-like flavor. Use half of the amount required for Star Anise since this blend of spices has a stronger flavor.
Fennel seeds are also spice seeds with a milder and sweeter licorice-like taste and they are also a part of the Chinese Five-Spice Powder. They do well in warm dishes like soups, stews, curries, and bread recipes.
Although the licorice taste isn’t quite the same as Star Anise it still can be a decent alternative for it. For one teaspoon of Star Anise, use two teaspoons of Fennel seeds instead.
Even though their names are very similar to each other, they are actually quite different in both taste and appearance.
Anise seeds may come from trees with the same name but have totally different growing regions and climates.
While the Star Anise seeds have a subtle and mild flavor, the Anise seeds have a more potent and strong flavor and are extremely aromatic.
You can use these seeds for enhancing the flavor of whichever dish you’re making. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a sweet or savory dish. You can even use them to spice up some cocktails as well, it’s that versatile.
Cloves are a spice with a strong, bitter-sweet, pungent flavor that you will definitely notice that is there in your dish. They make a great addition to meat, sauces, all kinds of drinks(cider, tea, and cocktails), savory dishes, and even some desserts.
Even though cloves may add a few bitter notes to every dish they’re a part of, they will also add a sweet note as well. For 1 teaspoon star anise, use half of a teaspoon of ground cloves in your recipes.
Licorice Root Powder
Licorice root is a great substitute for Star Anise if you want to add some licorice notes in your dishes, but it especially works in baked goods, candies, and other sweets. It is a known natural sweetener since it already has a sweet flavor.
This root isn’t just recognized by its sweet licorice flavor, it is a natural remedy for treating conditions of lungs, kidneys, and digestive issues. It is also a natural remedy for people with acne and other skin problems.
Licorice liqueur can replace Star Anise in both baking and cooking. It is an easy way to get that mild anise flavor without actually owning the spice. For two teaspoons of Star Anise use double the amount to get that sweet licorice flavor.
Just like Star Anise, this alternative is a warm and pungent spice, which adds a distinct and sweeter flavor to whatever dish you’re making.
Allspice is generally made from the dried brown berry of the dioica tree and it is one of the more expensive spices, so, if you want to make your own allspice alternative you can make it from ground spices like ground cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon
The one thing missing from this spice is the pungent licorice flavor, so make sure you add a bit of sugar when replacing Star Anise with it.
Cinnamon powder is made from the bark of the tree Cinnamomum. Cinnamon has a sweet, spicy, and woody flavor and citrusy undertones.
This spice can be used in either savory or sweet dishes like cookies, pies, meat, warm drinks like hot chocolate, tea, and hot cider, soups, and bread. Substitute 1 teaspoon of star anise with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
Tarragon is an aromatic, green herb with a licorice flavor, and hints of mint, pepper, and vanilla. This herb is used in many dishes like sauces, dressings, and marinates for meats and fish.
Tarragon has a bit of a bitter licorice flavor. So, you can add it to your dish to boost the taste and give a new flavor.
Substitute 2 teaspoons of Star Anise with 1 teaspoon tarragon or, use a caraway and tarragon mixture to get even closer to the distinct flavor of Star Anise.
This herb is the French version of Parsley and it is a good alternative to Star Anise because it has a slight hint of licorice flavor. It is mostly used in rice dishes, veggies, sauces, salads, soups, and stews. When cooking with this type of herb, try to not overcook it, otherwise, it will lose its flavor.
Just so we’re clear, with Chervil, you will not get that strong Anise flavor that you usually get. Instead, you will get hints and a taste of licorice.
Caraway Seeds Mixed With Tarragon
To recreate the star anise-like flavor, a perfect combo to help you is Caraway seeds and Tarragon. Caraway comes from the Caraway plant and has a bitter taste and a strong flavor, so be sure to use very little of this spice.
Mix Tarragon with a combination of Caraway seeds and there you have it, a good replacement for Star Anise in a time of need.
Fennel Seeds Mixed With Ground Anise
This combo is also a nice way to recreate the licorice-like flavor that Star Anise has. Simply just mix these two together and add them to your favorite savory foods. You will get that sweet but milder flavor of Star Anise spice.
Caraway seeds have an earthy and mild flavor with an aftertaste of citrus and pepper. They are great when it comes to adding a little bit of lemony flavor to soups, stews, baked goods, vegetables, and adding a bit of a citrus flavor to fish and meat.
Carraway seeds have a strong and complex flavor. I recommend using it in very small doses for example, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of Star Anise, use half of the amount of Carraway seeds.